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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
Chapter XXXV: From Architecture to Antiquities

slothinator

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From the personal diaries of Cardinal Alberto Pala

Saturday 12th of July 1879
Turin seems to be prosperous under our new administration and things remain quiet even with most of the soldiers off in the East caught in their struggle with the Austrians. In my introductory tour of the city, I was shown a great many of its beauties and there was no lack of Italian flags waving and curious crowds gawking at the new papal legate. I was even honored with a vision of the Holy Shroud and given the possibility to gaze into the face of Our Lord; while I have seen many relics in my time, it is truly an honor to see one of Christ himself.
Now that I am a little more settled in my quarters I have begun to deal with my official roles. I need to remind myself to be gentle with the pride of these people who long thought themselves masters of Italy but are now left in wait of a verdict on their ultimate fate. I briefly met king Amedeo and he seems to be a good Christian ruler, innocent of his brother's treachery; despite him being defeated I must do my best to treat him like the king he is.

jlJxembl.jpg

As for more ground-level matters, I've had a conversation with architect Alessandro Antonelli about how to continue his oeuvre. This building seems to have had a troubled past since it was started by Turin's Jewish community as a synagogue until they ran out of money and sold it to the city itself a few years back. Now, I'm called to choose which direction is best for this structure as the representative of the new administration. The past few years have set Antonelli on the path of constructing the tallest unreinforced masonry building in the World, even surpassing the great pyramids of Egypt. The passion that this architect has for his work despite his over eighty years of age is both remarkable and commendable, with such a man at the head, I'd be happy to provide the funds to complete the work while he still lives. As of now, the building is about half its final size and construction is underway on the second order what has been dubbed a "little temple" in the Greek style; past that, I've agreed with the architect that a spire to the top would be the most striking conclusion to the work. We had a bit of a discussion about what should go at the summit of this spire, Antonelli was partial to a star but I disagreed with the idea due to its more Savoyard connotations. As a counter, I suggested that the peak be topped by a bronze statue of Saint John the Baptist who can better represent the union between Rome and Turin in his dual role as patron of the city and as a prophet of Our Lord. I expected some significant pushback from him but he took off almost as if it were his own idea, sketching like a man possessed a model that I was most pleased with.
Finishing up the building will cost us 33.000 dramme but it's well within what the Pope allowed me to use and it's well worth it since the economy is in excellent health despite our engagement in the Austrian war. Speaking of Italy, I will soon ready myself for a night of Opera at the Teatro Regio where I have been honored with a seat at the king's box, just beside Verdi himself. I think that my choice of Nabucco will be appreciated by the attendants, sure it's a bit of an old play but I think that it's the best way to exemplify Italian unity and freedom from foreign oppression. I must remember to properly praise King Amedeo and make sure to not insult his and his people's pride accidentally but I have full confidence that it will be an amicable and jovial affair.
I'm looking forward to the performance.

Thursday 7th of October 1880
Firstly, it is with great happiness that I can note the end of the Austrian War and the final confirmation of the unity of Italy. I have read that the conflict was quite hard-fought but we've managed to humble the Austrians who derided us for centuries and free the Dalmatian people from their oppressors. I need to plan out some formal celebration in Naples as I'm sure that there will be plenty of goodwill for Italy's first united success and the return of her brave sons.
With that out of the way, these days have also been eventful for my visits to the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. I had of course read of the story of the place and Pliny the Elder's untimely fate but I had not truly understood the magnitude of the site itself. The preliminary studies I commissioned have given an estimation of one-tenth of the size of modern Rome which is astonishing in terms of the treasures that we could uncover as the digs proceed. I must note that we have proceeded far beyond the mere grave robbing done decades or even centuries ago as we have begun to use modern scientific methods to properly understand the life of the local population when some of the apostles still lived. The head archaeologist here is the native Neapolitan Giuseppe Fiorelli and he has been painstaking in his explanations to me as to why it is important that the position of each artifact is meticulously reported and how we can learn much not only from artifacts made of gold and jewels but also from the mundane tools that the common folk use every day because they are what truly connects us to that time. I was given a grand tour of the exposed areas of the city and I even looked on as a new insula was being uncovered bit by bit, but Fiorelli was most excited to present me with his brainchild, about which I had some reservations. He supposed that the bodies of the wretched inhabitants of the city will have wasted away under the ash but the space that their frames once occupied should be empty; following this train of thought, he decided to fill these cavities with plaster to extract the shape of the deceased. I was presented with one of these gruesome statues when it was first extracted and I confess that I held tight to my crucifix because, despite these people being all presumably pagans, this process feels oddly sacrilegious. I voiced my apprehensions but Fiorelli explained that human forms are not the only ones that are privy to this treatment but also plants and wooden artifacts that would have otherwise been lost; all in the service of producing as clear a picture of the past as possible.

UMTKR1Nl.png

The rest of the day proceeded much as it had started among the buildings of a lost world and, as we were about to take our leave, Fiorelli asked me if I would be amenable to opening the site to the public, for a fee of course. I told him that I had no particular opposition to that development but, in exchange, I would like him to help me with my development of the new National Museum in Rome; the project is in an advanced state but I could do much worse for a curator of Classical Antiquities. Fortunately, I received a gracious acceptance and now I only need to decide the broader details of how the collection should be set out.
I am mainly concerned about the so-called Secret Cabinet that King Francesco seemed quite eager to give over to us. When I visited the place, I soon came to realize that this eagerness was due to the room being exclusively filled with pornographic material extracted from earlier digs at Pompeii and Herculaneum. And when I say pornographic I do not merely mean the depiction of sexual acts between men and women but with members of the same sex, men and animals, and grotesque individuals with monstrous proportions in their pudenda; this, more than anything, shows how far we've come since the time of pagan debauchery. I felt faint at this display and ready to relegate these obscenities to the obscurity to which the Bourbons had chosen to consign them but today's visit with Fiorelli has given me a change of heart. I want to be clear that these objects should not be freely available to the public but it would not be unreasonable to allow access to scholars of mature age and respected morals with the purpose of granting a clearer picture of the distant past. I know that some may object to this categorically but there must be a reason if these artifacts have survived the millennia and hiding them for everyone would be as good as destroying them, and it is always a great sin to destroy art, no matter how objectionable. One hopes that the museum in Rome will have simpler decisions and less questionable material.
Having said this, my day is not yet done as I must visit the Vesuvian Observatory that we recently refurbished and I will be told how exactly these people intend to predict future eruptions of the volcano. I am quite fortunate to have such an eventful assignment.

Monday 21st of February 1881
I could not have hoped for a better inauguration to the National Roman Museum. The amount of work involved in the preparation was quite significant but I'm happy to see that the effort has been recognized and this evening was a pure celebration with the most influential people in Rome. The pope himself attended and thanked me profusely for the work before giving his compliments on the organization of the various exhibits. I was also accosted by a number of other cardinals and emissaries of the kings in Italy who asked my opinions on the state of the nation in a way that made me think each expected a precise answer in their own direction. I tried my best to brush these probes off because I have no intention of having my good work be co-opted for a cause that I do not believe in, but I'm unsure whether I succeeded in my neutrality.
Speaking of the work, I have the greatest appreciation for the help of Giuseppe Fiorelli from Naples and Giovanni Battista de Rossi from here in Rome. With one curating the Roman antiquities and the other the Apostolic ones, I could not have hoped for better collaborators in this endeavor. Fiorelli has gotten plenty of experience back South but, while de Rossi was a relative novice in the field, he managed to bring his immense experience to bear with only some gentle guidance to stop him from constructing a temple to epigraphy. In the end, we managed to construct an exhaustive timeline from the foundation of Rome itself to the Donation of Sutri, with each room after Peter's arrival displaying the parallel lives of the emperors and the popes. I'm especially proud of the Constantinian chamber where enlightenment, at last, arrived to the ancient city and, it can be argued, began the temporal power of the Papacy that we can see today.

q7naPH2l.jpg

Now, with peace rampant in all of Italy, I'm sure that this grand display will be properly appreciated and visited from every corner of the country as we realize the magnitude of what joins us. I wish a thousand of these years on our young country!
 
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slothinator

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Also, I would like to remind everyone that there are a few days left to vote in the Q1 2021 ACAs, so go out and make your preferences known!
 

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just beside Verdi himself
Bet he has a lot to think about!
I think that my choice of Nabucco will be appreciated by the attendants, sure it's a bit of an old play but I think that it's the best way to exemplify Italian unity and freedom from foreign oppression.
Very apros.
Thursday 7th of October 1880
Firstly, it is with great happiness that I can note the end of the Austrian War and the final confirmation of the unity of Italy.
Final victory! Mission accomplished. AAR over! No further issues for Italy or the papacy, ever!
 

eoncommander

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We had a bit of a discussion about what should go at the summit of this spire, Antonelli was partial to a star but I disagreed with the idea due to its more Savoyard connotations. As a counter, I suggested that the peak be topped by a bronze statue of Saint John the Baptist who can better represent the union between Rome and Turin in his dual role as patron of the city and as a prophet of Our Lord. I expected some significant pushback from him but he took off almost as if it were his own idea, sketching like a man possessed a model that I was most pleased with.
Finishing up the building will cost us 33.000 dramme but it's well within what the Pope allowed me to use

A magnificent job of managing a patron by Antonelli.
 

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Lovely cultural overview. I remember seeing the Pompeii and Herculaneum casts when they came to London some years back. Spooky things indeed. Sounds like the Secret Room will be a good source of levity, mind. Can’t remember if any of that collection was on display when I went…
 

slothinator

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Bet he has a lot to think about!

Very apros.

Final victory! Mission accomplished. AAR over! No further issues for Italy or the papacy, ever!
Yes, I'm sure there are no simmering tensions in a semi-constitutional theocracy going into the 20th century, there is no reason at all to fear.
A magnificent job of managing a patron by Antonelli.
The wily old man finally gets to complete his magnum opus so I'm sure he's thrilled, especially since he died before completion in OTL.
Lovely cultural overview. I remember seeing the Pompeii and Herculaneum casts when they came to London some years back. Spooky things indeed. Sounds like the Secret Room will be a good source of levity, mind. Can’t remember if any of that collection was on display when I went…
Thanks! The whole city is quite a strange thing and seeing the casts of people in their last moments is pretty dark. The secret room is in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples and was opened permanently in 2000 but is still forbidden to people below 14 which I guess is fair enough; there's lots of randy roman material in there.
 
Chapter XXXVI: From the Alps to Sicily

slothinator

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From the personal diaries of Cardinal Annibale Lisi

7E13Zoll.png

Friday 12th of January 1877
Italy at last! The work of decades and thousands of souls has finally come to fruition and in the most unlikely of ways. Though I often thought ill of Callixtus' plans for the Apulia and Naples, it turns out that his plans had an unintended side effect. By empowering and praising the local population and nobility, civil unrest has spread to the court in Naples and from there all the way to Palermo. I dreaded the news at first, fearing what problems might arise from such instability, but came to look at them with cautious optimism. The population was asking their rulers to seek protection from the pope against the onslaught of foreign powers that seek to take advantage of the divided Italians. These spontaneous movements were supplemented by hundreds of volunteers from the Papal States, especially those from the large cities, who soon overwhelmed the tired and overworked defense forces of the two realms and forced them to capitulate. This morning, Kings Girolamo of Sicily and Francesco of the Two Sicilies formally swore their fealty to Innocent XV and requested that he bring the idea of Italy into the world.
Though I feared that the inexperienced Pope would take this task wholly onto himself, I was soon proven wrong as he asked me to use my expertise in crafting a common constitution for the new realm. It's clear to me that a unitary solution would cause the whole system to break apart due to resentments from the forced union, so I searched for a federal setup. Now, since the Papal States are about the size of the other two states combined, I thought it best to separate the former Papal States into a Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom and an Apostolic Kingdom in personal union under the reigning pontiff. With these measures in place, it should be a simple matter of instituting a Senate with equal membership for each of the four kingdoms and members appointed by the respective rulers. The rulers themselves can then act as a veto to the Senate and deal with the federal governance with one vote assigned to each kingdom in case of disagreements. I'm a little bit concerned about the reaction of the southern nobles who had gotten used to voting for their respective lower houses since there is no space for such a system in the current Italy. A momentary solution would be "encouraging" Girolamo and Francesco to nominate these nobles as their representatives in the Senate, but I would rather not institute a precedent for de-facto hereditary seats. I must discuss with Innocent some famous names to choose as senators so as to not select only cardinals; someone like Verdi is a good start, a good patriotic symbol, and well known both at home and abroad, something to solidify our legitimacy against the Savoyards.
Speaking of which, I have heard unofficial rumors that king Victor Emmanuel has tentatively diverted his armies towards our borders, and all can see that the long-awaited confrontation is about to arrive. I will tell the pope to fill out the armies of the two southern domains and move them up North to deter any attack before we can ensure French aid, I can already imagine that is going to be quite the task with the republican regime.
But I am getting ahead of myself, it is still a time for celebration and victory; there is no harm in rejoicing as long as we watch our backs. I have also forgotten one last point. What will Innocent be called? He can't be King of Italy since he rules over kings, but he cannot be an Emperor since it would appear like a clumsy imitation of the other European monarchs. Maybe a simple Sovereign? Vicar of Italy? Should we dare a King of Kings?
I suppose this is one choice that I can delegate to the pope, I can provide him with options and he can decide the style that I will announce to the world. Good Lord what wonders await us.

Thursday 7th of October 1880
The war is won and once again I am called to the stage to mop up the aftermath. This is not to say that I am not grateful for the trust placed in me, but I am still a little bitter about the way that the pope has begun to give away my responsibilities under the guise of preparing me for a well-deserved rest. I know what his real intention is, he wants to sideline me so I cannot push my agenda anymore and he can bury the memory of Callixtus, just as he was chosen to do. And so, with my waning powers, I must find a way to preserve the work of a lifetime from the erosion of history.
I suppose I must begin with the transformation of Sardinia-Piedmont from an occupied territory into a fully integral part of Italy now that the state of emergency is over. Its expansion in past decades was really quite worrying for a time but now we can break the old kingdom in two as a defeated nation and hand a new Kingdom of Etruria to the Papacy while the Kingdom of Sardinia can be returned to its borders as defined in the Congress of Vienna. This way the balance of kingdoms is maintained and we won't foster dangerous internal rivals at our own expense. Members from the new states will be allowed to join the Senate in a manner similar to the others and I must insist that the Etrurian senators are chosen with sufficient tact so that they may not regret the loss of their universal voting rights. Now comes the matter of the royal council, I know that Innocent is attached to the idea of keeping Umberto as king because of reconciliation and such things but I strongly disagree that this is our priority. Both Giuseppe and Francesco were reluctant to join this union in the first place; if we gifted them another disgruntled ally, the three of them would paralyze the government at best and attempt a secession at worst. No, a king who fought his countrymen cannot be allowed on the throne, but his brother Amedeo might do. He did not have a great role in the war and mainly represented Umberto in an official capacity without showing much desire for the throne. I believe that if we gave Sardinia-Piedmont its Amedeo X he would be content with holding the state together and making the best of the current situation while a future generation grows under the Papal Sovereignty.

TMVwWAbm.png

Now comes the sting in the tail. Since the Senate is the only body with the power to repeal granted rights, my reforms can be held firm if I can guarantee that reactionaries never become the majority. The Southern realms are problematic in this respect since most of their Senators are of the old nobility and thus unreliable in the field of reform while the cardinals from the Apostolic Kingdom have shown their opinion in the conclave, so they are similarly problematic. Lombardy-Venetia manages to stand more in the liberal camp but is far from sufficient to hold the system in place. I only have space to operate in Sardinia and Etruria where their tradition of universal suffrage has fostered a thriving socialist party. I still have some contacts in these groups that I made at the end of Callixtus' papacy and I know some renowned individuals that would be greatly accepted as Senators for either of the kingdoms. If I can set a precedent for popular acclamation of Senators with the appointment being only a formality, then I could institute more progressive strongholds to counteract Southern conservatism. I'm sure that some appropriately threatening and condescending letters to Amedeo could have that effect for Sardinia but I need to use a more subtle touch with Innocent. I can shed light on part of my reasoning and emphasize the risk of angering a people who have lost their voting rights and suggest that they might be placated by a mock-election where the pope can have the final say on the "candidates". And if I am correct, the young pontiff will be too occupied with other matters to vet each individual candidate so I will ensure that such a precedent for rejection of senators is never established.
This is my hope for a lasting legacy, a system that holds the achievements of Callixtus and me as a pedestal upon which to build further and not some idol to be torn down by vengeful successors. It will take careful touches but I'm sure I can do this. For the Church, for Callixtus, and for my memory.

Saturday 2nd of July 1881
The cough has not been letting up and my thoughts are returning to the customary place. My health has given Innocent the opportunity to push me off the stage and into more minor activities, but I do not take this assignment as an incitement to idleness. Even in the wings, I choose to make my mark and ensure that I am remembered somehow.
The reform of the Swiss Guard is an enjoyable project since it can be a way to show the people of Rome a reflection of the united kingdom they are living in. The current guard is mostly a glorified holding pen for the distant relatives of swiss immigrants and consists of a little over one hundred members which gives me reasonable grounds to rebuild the institution from the ground up. For the sake of tradition, it would be important to maintain a small core of Swiss officers to be chosen among the finest of the Swiss Catholics whose discipline should also help with the training of fresh recruits. For the main body of soldiers, I think that there should be six regiments of about one thousand men coming from each of the six constituent kingdoms that they may foster a greater sense of unity from across the country. Though I do not expect them to see active service often, I want to be sure that they are prepared for modern warfare and can be deployed to break any particularly stubborn enemy defenses or hold the line until a retreat can be organized.
For more mundane military operations, I took it upon myself to reform the Palatine Guard into an elite fighting force to be spread out across the front lines with aptitude in both defensive and offensive maneuvers. I know that the cost will be more onerous than that of a common infantryman, but it is important to display a common strength to foreign and Italian soldiers. Here as well I would like the regiments to be formed with attention to the provenance of the soldiers, the quickest way to unite a nation is through hardship and hard work and I want these men to be an example to their comrades in arms. I should also make sure that they all speak proper Italian with the local languages limited to private use, God knows how difficult it is to unite a nation if they don't even speak the same tongue.
There is no rush to confirm these ideas now, the Austro-Hungarians have been thoroughly thrashed so they won't return any time soon and there is no imminent conflict we risk being embroiled in. I have all the time that my body will allow me even though I do not know how much that may be. I am tired now, so much service weighs on the spirit and makes me glad that I was not forced to the throne even though I would have sustained its responsibility with rectitude. I will work on this further in the morning, I should be well-rested for my last pet project.

Bx8EJazl.jpg

Author’s note:
Cardinal Lisi died in early 1882 and was buried with full honors with Pope Innocent XV himself presiding over the ceremony.
After becoming a cardinal before the age of fifty, he quickly grew to prominence within the Curia, and, through a series of savvy political decisions, he managed to become the principal advisor of Pope Callixtus IV during his reign. This trajectory was interrupted, to the surprise of many observers, by his non-election to the Petrine see which nonetheless allowed him to craft the first integral constitution of the Italian State.
This constitution remained virtually unchanged for a number of decades until it had to be shelved by Pope John XXIII who nonetheless kept the core elements of the document intact for the New Italy which still endures to this day. While Lisi's role in the North/South political divide had been long suspected, it is only here that we have confirmation of his ultimate intentions which would take a few decades to mature into a form that even he might not have anticipated.
His other most influential contribution to Church history was in the First Vatican Council where he is, justly or unjustly, credited as the true architect of the innovations rather than Pope Callixtus. The modification of Biblical interpretation in the face of scientific advances came as a shock to many in the wider world but attracted many more liberal-minded Christians to the Church while Lisi's implementation of a limited conciliarism in place of papal infallibility inched towards the democratization of the Papacy, though this too would have mixed results.
In sum, Lisi is rightly considered to be the most influential cardinal of the nineteenth century from colossal changes in both Church and State to the Swiss Guards being known as "Lisetti" for all the inhabitants of Rome. However, it is often wondered if his success in the conclave of 1875 might have spared the country he helped create from the horrors that it would have to endure.
 
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DensleyBlair

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Pope-Emperor would be a terribly grand title but not exactly unwarranted if the Holy See fancies making good on its Roman roots. King of Kings would surely be a bridge too far even for this papacy.

Lisi got that rarest of things, which is living to see his life’s work actually come to fruition. By the sounds of things, he did well to leave when he did. Doom and gloom around the corner?
 

eoncommander

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With these measures in place, it should be a simple matter of instituting a Senate with equal membership for each of the four kingdoms and members appointed by the respective rulers. The rulers themselves can then act as a veto to the Senate and deal with the federal governance with one vote assigned to each kingdom in case of disagreements.

So you're telling me this is a system with a large number of veto points and no defined way to break a deadlock? Sounds suspiciously familiar.

If I can set a precedent for popular acclamation of Senators with the appointment being only a formality, then I could institute more progressive strongholds to counteract Southern conservatism. I'm sure that some appropriately threatening and condescending letters to Amedeo could have that effect for Sardinia but I need to use a more subtle touch with Innocent. I can shed light on part of my reasoning and emphasize the risk of angering a people who have lost their voting rights and suggest that they might be placated by a mock-election where the pope can have the final say on the "candidates". And if I am correct, the young pontiff will be too occupied with other matters to vet each individual candidate so I will ensure that such a precedent for rejection of senators is never established.

Precedents and norms, the only thing keeping the system together!

I think what Lisi has built here is a system that will rely solely on the political-diplomatic skills of the Pope to stay intact as he negotiates between the sovereigns of the constituent kingdoms and tries to create consensus in order to set policy. I think Lisi's influence is undeniable; but I also think his constitutional legacy is probably negative, as his document appears to have sown the seeds of future crisis.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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Cough.

Holy Roman Emperor.

Cough.
 

slothinator

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Pope-Emperor would be a terribly grand title but not exactly unwarranted if the Holy See fancies making good on its Roman roots. King of Kings would surely be a bridge too far even for this papacy.

Lisi got that rarest of things, which is living to see his life’s work actually come to fruition. By the sounds of things, he did well to leave when he did. Doom and gloom around the corner?

Titles are always difficult because they mean too many things but the lawyers need a way to distinguish between the office of Pope and the guy who rules over a sovereign nation. For now, the new nation will try its best to not offend exactly everyone.

Lisi's number one ending would have been a papacy but this is a close second.

Doom and gloom are not exactly around the corner, rather a few corridors down but you can start to smell smoke.

So you're telling me this is a system with a large number of veto points and no defined way to break a deadlock? Sounds suspiciously familiar.



Precedents and norms, the only thing keeping the system together!

I think what Lisi has built here is a system that will rely solely on the political-diplomatic skills of the Pope to stay intact as he negotiates between the sovereigns of the constituent kingdoms and tries to create consensus in order to set policy. I think Lisi's influence is undeniable; but I also think his constitutional legacy is probably negative, as his document appears to have sown the seeds of future crisis.

There is a good chance for vetos to come into place which comes with the confederal system but there's a lot of wink-wink nudge-nudge about the Pope being able to excommunicate all of them.

Of course! Because no political system was ever crippled by precedents and norms collapsing due to individuals taking advantage of loopholes that nobody ever saw coming; that would be ridiculous!

Lisi's system would work well but only if the Pope is always a savvy politician and diplomat. Innocent is a relatively solid choice for this given his whole election but the future will depend strongly on whoever is next.

Cough.

Holy Roman Emperor.

Cough.

Hmmm, I'll float that proposal through the wormhole. Although I think they'd need to break Italy into a few more pieces or bring back the communes.
 

El Pip

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I am delighted that this carefully designed system continues in that most ancient of Papal traditions, utterly ignoring the Greeks. Though on a marginally more serious note, as the 'Italianisation' of Greece was proceeding rapidly last we saw (in part due to the sheer number of Greeks being murdered), where do they fit into this precarious federal system I wonder.

Cough.

Holy Roman Emperor.

Cough.
As they long since stopped being Holy, why not just jump straight to Roman Emperor?
 

TheButterflyComposer

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As they long since stopped being Holy, why not just jump straight to Roman Emperor?
Not sure which is more ridiculous.

Either way, they get a claim on the entirety of christendom, most of which is irrelevant but does mean we have a few more dubious reasons to build an empire in the balkans and reclaim the Middle East. Even though most of the Christians there aren't Catholic.
 

DensleyBlair

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slothinator

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I am delighted that this carefully designed system continues in that most ancient of Papal traditions, utterly ignoring the Greeks. Though on a marginally more serious note, as the 'Italianisation' of Greece was proceeding rapidly last we saw (in part due to the sheer number of Greeks being murdered), where do they fit into this precarious federal system I wonder.


As they long since stopped being Holy, why not just jump straight to Roman Emperor?
You've hit the nail on the head. Nobody really knows what to do with Greece so they're leaving it to posterity. Lisi would have been inclined to releasing some sort of upper state but alas he was on the way out and had no time for it.
 
Chapter XXXVII: A New Harmony in the Concert of Europe

slothinator

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From the personal diaries of Cardinal Giulio Felicetti

Monday 12th of March 1883
It is a shame that I had to arrive in Berlin in the pouring rain, but I will find the opportunity to give it a proper visit. In the meantime, I am happy to find all of my correspondence already sorted at the embassy so I can get some work done before tomorrow. Lisi's death has really shown how wide the spider's web was and I have my hands full in my attempts to disentangle the threads and neutralize the nefarious elements he may have left behind. Speaking of which, it looks like I have a letter from Cardinal Fatta about his progress in uncovering the communist menace that has begun to spread from Greece as a foul miasma that corrupts the minds of the gullible and sinful. He has proven a good choice for the scarlet and understands both the error of Pope Callixtus' ways and the terrible necessity to correct such deviations.
I am sorry to report that the same cannot be said for Pope Innocent who, despite his guarantees in the conclave, has yet to repeal any of the more deviant elements of the Vatican Council or even any of the communist laws that have begun to take root in the popular consciousness. After almost a decade of rule, Innocent should have enough clout to do as he pleases in this context, so we are left with two possibilities: either he does not wish to restore the Church, or he is incapable of doing so. Of the two, I would rather he be only incompetent rather than malicious because I can put my skills towards limiting incompetence, but malice is a far more devious beast.
In the meantime, I must concentrate on securing a strong ally for Italy now that the French Republic has begun to cool towards us. I have evaluated the options available to us and I believe that Germany is the best I can hope for. Bismarck called this meeting over Bessarabia, a border region of the Russian Empire with little to recommend it, in an attempt to stare down the Russian bear and make it blink; my role will be to play the coy kingmaker in the hopes of sowing the seeds for future collaboration. Unfortunately, the British have also chosen to attend the conference, and this might introduce a few complications, but I doubt they will commit with vigor to anything on the continent.
I will finish replying to my mail and then I must get my rest to ensure that the first days are as productive as possible.

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Friday 27th of April 1883

After a pleasant month of dinners and meetings, I think I have the iron chancellor at long last. Earl Granville's obstinate neutrality in the matter and desire to simply "ensure a just outcome" has made me and Italy stand out as the prize of this conference. I pity the Russian foreign minister and his innuendos towards a French, Italian and Russian collaboration to isolate Germany; were it a decade ago, the idea might have enticed me, but the French are already too far gone to allow for such a construction.
This left Bismarck ready to make secretive pronouncements of friendship between unified peoples and the blandest possible condemnation of any Austrian aggression that might return to the Peninsula. We warmed to each other day by day like shy lovers until I felt confident enough to announce Italian support for a Romanian Bessarabia at today's meeting. The large man was overjoyed and broke protocol to give me a rib-shattering hug while Nikolay Girs accepted the new status quo with a look of resignation and Granville remained as insipid as Britishly possible.
I was certainly satisfied by the garnered effect, but this served to make plain to me how poorly foreign policy has been conducted so far. Lisi chose to send Formica of all people to that crucial meeting about Africa a couple of years ago and it appears that he was given no instruction with regards to the search for new allies. Even back then it could be seen that the French Republic began to show their distaste for our model of government and plans should have been made to find an alternative in Germany.
Nonetheless, it is no use to dwell on things past; I should celebrate my achievement here and plan for the future. I have received letters from Cardinal Fatta about his struggles against the communist menace and it seems that he is doing a good job of it, though I must remember to find an independent source for his statements. Most surprisingly, the cardinal has stated that it appears that Lisi had some sort of connection with these radicals who seem to hold him in high regard. I will have to conduct a posthumous investigation into his finances to check if he made covert donations to Marxist associations; if true, this could be an important step in the repeal of his laws.
I will not have to remain in Berlin for long, though the city has grown on me, since I expect the negotiations on the borders of Romanian Bessarabia will take a couple of weeks to complete at most and will not particularly involve me. I need to write a few letters to prepare for my return to Rome before I turn in for the night.

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Friday 15th of June 1883
I am pleased to write that my mission to Berlin has been an absolute success and I have even managed to make progress with the pope. The small matter of Bessarabia was solved with the indifference it deserved in the first place and signatures sealed the resolution that is sure to overjoy the Romanian government and not many others. After this, I managed to spend a pleasant few weeks getting acquainted with Bismarck on a personal rather than diplomatic level and we have grown into a healthy mutual admiration that will serve Italy well for the foreseeable future. Most importantly, I managed to extract a gentleman's agreement whereby Germany will join Italy in an alliance as soon as France will end our current relationship; beyond that first success, Otto seemed to respond well to my assertion that Nice and Savoy are Italy's Alsace-Lorraine, something that I am sure will be useful in future. I am grieved that I must leave such pleasant company but duty calls and, as ever, I am urged to answer.

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I spoke of progress with Innocent and that is indeed the case. I have often lamented his reluctance in repealing the more extreme Callixtine laws, but I have made the proper pressures and I have claimed an important victory despite his misgivings. It seems that Innocent will not repeal these norms because he believes that it would be frowned upon by the people and foreign nations. I dispute both these claims since, firstly, we should not let foreigners influence our internal policy and, secondly, I do not believe that the Italian people are yet so tainted by socialism that they cannot see the negativity of such effects. The pope then offered a compromise by which he will not abolish the laws, but he will do what he can to make them ineffective by the usual bureaucratic means. Certainly not all that I hoped for but a satisfactory outcome nonetheless.
Now, I am only left to return to Rome and ensure that these provisions are instituted and followed as per my specifications. The future promises great things, I look forward to witnessing them.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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This can only ends well.
 

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The pope then offered a compromise by which he will not abolish the laws, but he will do what he can to make them ineffective by the usual bureaucratic means. Certainly not all that I hoped for but a satisfactory outcome nonetheless.
That is certainly an incredibly Italian solution, the enforcement of a law depending on the whim of local officials and if they enforce the law as written or follow the vague hints from above to sort of ignore it.

I am certain that once officials get used to the idea of not enforcing certain laws the concept will not spread. Nor will there be any corruption or cronyism as bureaucrats selectively enforce laws based on financial incentives or personal politics. Yes I can see absolutely no problems arising from this and am sure it will all work out fine.
 

slothinator

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This can only ends well.
Bismarck and Felicetti getting in bed together. What could possibly go wrong?
The French are not going to be happy about this betrayal but I'm sure Germany will be friendly and stable all the way into the new century.
That is certainly an incredibly Italian solution, the enforcement of a law depending on the whim of local officials and if they enforce the law as written or follow the vague hints from above to sort of ignore it.

I am certain that once officials get used to the idea of not enforcing certain laws the concept will not spread. Nor will there be any corruption or cronyism as bureaucrats selectively enforce laws based on financial incentives or personal politics. Yes I can see absolutely no problems arising from this and am sure it will all work out fine.
Yes, they chose the standard Italian solution of passively resisting laws and disregarding the consequences. The next chapter will reveal a bit more about what is going on with this whole "I'm sure it will be fine if we forget to enforce civil rights" attitude.